ARMY’S 4th Infantry Division’s community support program teams of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion on Monday recovered four high-powered firearms from the New People’s Army (NPA) after a 10-minute clash with remaining members of the communist terrorist group in Sitio Panukmuan, Diatagon, Lianga.
4ID public affairs chief Captain Al Anthony Pueblas said that acting on reports from villagers, government troops intensified their combat operations where remnants of communist terrorist groups were reported before the gunfight.
Soldiers seized an M16 rifle, two M1 Garand rifles, two M1 carbine rifles, an improvised shotgun, a hand grenade, an improvised explosive device, bandolier with magazines for M16 rifles and carbine rifle, and some personal belongings of rebels.
Pueblas said after the fight, soldiers seized 1 AK47, an M16, and 2 improvised shotguns and assorted magazines, live ammunitions, 6 mobile phones, a PC tablet, power bank, documents and
some personal belongings of the rebels.
“We have monitored the NPA presence in the area with the help of the populace,” said Pueblas adding that this indicates that the people have enough of the NPA’s terrorism and want to have peace in their communities.
“Their disgust led them to report NPA terrorist presence in their villages,” Pueblas said.
The CSP deployment in the hinterland area of Lianga town in the province of Surigao del Sur is in line with the Development Support and Security Plan “KAPAYAPAAN” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct Development Support Operations, to sustain the peace, ensure security and help maintain public order to foster the foundation for economic and human development.
The CSP team of 3SFBn whose main objective is to provide support to the local government unit of the town exchanged gunfire with the NPA rebels when government forces conducted “prophylactic” patrol in the vicinity of the tribal community, according to Pueblas.
The clashed lasted for about ten minutes after which fleeing terrorists joined in the group of locals making them a human shield to evade the pursuing troops.
“We call on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC) and other rights groups to condemn in the highest terms and take action against Communist NPA Terrorists who used the IP community as human shields,” said Lianga Indigenous People Mandatory representative Hawudon Jumar Bucales.
“Communist NPA terrorists infiltrate our IP communities to force my tribesmen to become members of their underground mass organizations, politico-military structure and eventually, party members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and National Democratic Front (NDF) to sustain the CNTs in the far-flung sitios,” Bucales, added.
4ID commander Major General Andres Centino said that the CSP deployment in the hinterland area of Lianga town in the province of Surigao del Sur is in line with the Development Support and Security Plan “KAPAYAPAAN” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct Development Support Operations, to sustain the peace, ensure security and help maintain public order to foster the foundation for economic and human development.
“The CSP teams were deployed to assist the LGUs in delivering the basic services that our IP brothers need. We will not permit these terrorists to hamper the government’s effort in sustaining peace in Surigao del Sur. With the newly signed Anti Terrorism Act, we will crash these terrorists out,” said Centino.
The Communist Party of the Philippines NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. The communist rebels have been battling government forces for 50 years. The communist rebellion in the Philippines is one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies and was declared as a designated/identified terrorist organization under the Philippines’ Republic Act No. 1016. (Ben Balce)